A new report by the Brookings Institute examines the profile of those living in extremely poor areas. The authors of the report define extreme poverty areas as neighborhoods with poverty rates greater than or equal to 40%.
Using 2000 US Census data and the 2005-2009 American Community Survey, the report estimates that the total number of people living in extremely poor neighborhoods rose by 33% in the last decade. While the number of people living in poor areas has spiked after falling throughout the 1990s, the profile of those living in impoverished neighborhoods seems to be shifting.
The most devastating recession since the Great Depression sparked a wave of evictions, unemployment, and wage suppression that has forced middle-class families into poorer neighborhoods. Indeed, in an interview posted on the Brookings website, report author Alan Berube describes how educated individuals increasingly make up a greater proportion of those living in poor areas.
The racial makeup of poor neighborhoods is changing as well. The Guardian newspaper put together the following chart showing the change in the percentage of those living in poor neighborhoods by race from 2000 to 2009.
In 2000, whites made up 11.2% of those living in extremely poor neighborhoods, by 2005-2009 the percentage of whites was estimated to have risen to 16.5%. While the percentage of whites in the charts above increase, the percentage of blacks stays about the same at 45%, while the percentage of Latinos decreases from 37.4% to 33.9%.
To find out more about the changing demographics of poor neighborhoods, check out the full Brookings report here.
Photo credit: Hamster Rave